January 25th, 2008

A week ago, when we released two pictures of Phil Heath five weeks out from the Ironman Pro, we expected a reaction — but not this type of reaction. Since then, our phones, and our emails, have been buzzing with activity. Did you guys photoshop those shots? What has Phil been doing? Are you going to release any back shots?

Well, no, not sure, and no. But, since there was such an overwhelming reaction, we decided to check in with some of the top names in the sport to get their reactions to the Heath shots. Here’s what they had to say:

CHRIS CORMIER – Future Hall of Famer
“It looks like he added some big round bowling balls on his arms. I can tell he’s putting in a great effort and he’s improving his aesthetics. It looks like he’s made great improvements and I’d like to see how it all comes down at the show. He’s getting into his artistic side – he’s kind of a bodybuilding artiste — not artist. I call it an artiste. The fullness is there obviously but now it’s going to be a matter of how much he chisels down to exhibit striated muscle or if it’s gonna be the Flex Wheeler effect of a mound of muscle on a small frame giving the illusion without that crazy striated muscle like Dexter [Jackson] would have. He needs to keep thinking about being an artiste and how he wants to build his physique — asking himself, What’s important to me? Making my strong points stronger or really concentrating on the weaknesses and pulling back on the strengths to really formulate it?”

JAY CUTLER – Mr. Olympia
“I been saying this for years and everybody looked at me like I was crazy. I’m not surprised at all. He’s still very fresh and he’s improved everywhere. This is only the beginning of his ride to the top.”

DAN SOLOMON – Host, Pro Bodybuilding Weekly
“We’ve all been waiting for Phil to grow into his true genetic potential. After looking at the recent photos, it’s safe to say that Mr. Heath is closing in on something very special. There is still some work to be done, but he has made great use of his extended offseason. We will learn a lot about Phil when we see him standing next to Dexter under the hot lights in Columbus.”

RONNIE COLEMAN – 8x Mr. Olympia
“Well I’ve been telling anyone who would listen who the next Mr. Olympia was going to be after Victor. Nuff said with those photos. For those who need an explanation of the comment, nuff said. It simply mean those photos prove he will be the next Mr. Olympia after Victor.”

It certainly does appear he did his homework and put some well balanced size on his upper chest as well as his arms and delts. He is in very good condition at his weight of 240 pounds. I would assume when he steps on stage he may be in the 225-230 range which I believe would amount to a good 10 to 15 pound increase in muscle for the year. And, his waistline still appears to not have suffered from the increase in weight. He certainly is a genetically gifted athlete and should turn some heads at the Ironman. Phil will be doing his part to make the start of the competition season a memorable one!”

“Phil appears to have added some nice size while keeping his symmetry and balance. He has noticeably improved arm, deltoid and upper chest development over the Phil I judged at the Arnold [Classic] in 2007. His conditioning also looks good. He was able to maintain his small waist while improving the size on his upper body. I look forward to seeing him standing on stage at the Ironman in a few weeks.”